Today’s photographer interview is with Kelly of Kelly Embry Photography based in Atlanta, GA! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company
My name is Kelly Embry and I am a wedding & portrait photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia. I am terrible at talking about myself, lol. Let’s see, I have been studying photography since I was 14, did freelance work for a few years after high school while waiting tables, and then finally at 24 I put myself through college. I attended the Savannah College of Art & Design and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography. My studies there focused on portrait, fashion, and documentary photography. I am also a painter and I love cats.
A huge part of my company is the relationships that I form with my clients. I take a limited number of weddings each year to ensure that I can dedicate myself to creating the ideal wedding imagery for each of my clients. I love getting to know my couples and creating a fun experience for them throughout the process of planning and shooting their wedding day. I suppose I have a very hands on approach to how I run my business, but that’s just how I am, a bit of a perfectionist I suppose. If you have chosen me as your photographer, you get my knowledge, my experience, and my friendship, and I will assist you in any way that I am able to ensure that your wedding day is absolutely amazing.
Read the full interview after the cut!
How did you get into wedding photography?
I honestly never intended to photograph weddings, but while I was a student I was asked by a couple of co-workers to photograph their weddings because they loved my work, so I gave it a try. I quickly found that my focus on documentary style photography made me a perfect fit for wedding photography. I tend to be a fly on the wall and let things naturally unfold, and I love capturing honest moments. As it turns out, people liked my documentary style and my willingness to try near anything to capture a great photo, so here I am. I genuinely love getting to be apart of other peoples wedding days, and knowing that they will treasure something that I created for the rest of their lives. That, and wedding cake is pretty yummy. ;)
What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
I have to say that I really like all of the pre-ceremony chaos. There is just so much going on and so much to capture. I love lots of movement and emotions, and this part of the day is full of both. I also really love getting to do a “first look” with the couple. I like the idea of them seeing each other the first time that day in private, as I allow no one but them during this portion of the day. This gives them an intimate moment to breathe it all in and react to the emotions of the day with just each other, and the resulting images are just breathtaking and honest.
What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?
Oh my, let’s see…. I was helping to line people up for the sparkler exit at a wedding when the brides father tripped on the stairs and landed face first in my chest. That was definitely awkward. We laughed it off, but I am sure we were both glad it was the end of the day and not the start.
What is your favorite venue and why?
I am not sure that I have a favorite venue really. I suppose my favorite venue would be one that I’ve never shot at as I like the challenge of a new adventure. I would really love to shoot a wedding at the Fox Theater or the High Museum someday, as I think that they are both amazing buildings. If I had to choose one that I’ve shot at, I suppose I would choose Ventanas since I adore their rooftop view of Atlanta.
Nikon or Canon?
I am a believer that it is the photographer that makes the photo, not the camera. Personally, I shoot Canon. Not because it’s necessarily better than Nikon, it’s just what I started with and have stuck with it. My very first camera was a Canon AE-1, that I still have and shoot with on occasion. I usually shoot a combination of digital and film cameras at weddings.
What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
Venice. Without a doubt this is my most favorite place in the world, that I’ve been to anyhow. I would love to photograph a wedding in Venice in the winter, I think that it would be beyond stunning. That being said, I love to travel, so it would be truly amazing to shoot a wedding anywhere in the world.
If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
Audrey Hepburn, either of her weddings. She is just the epitome of class and elegance in my opinion and I would have been honoured to have even met her.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
Learn the business side of things before you start a business. I think that this is one of the most common mistakes that people can make. They take pretty pictures, so they start a business. Only they don’t know how to run a business and they inevitably fail. Taking good photographs is only part of the package; knowing how to run a strong legal business is the really difficult and time consuming part of it. Don’t just take photography classes, take some business classes too at a local college or online…. something. That way you have everything in order before you start taking on clients and you don’t end up in a mess that you can’t handle.
Also, keep learning and challenging yourself. The moment you think you know everything is the moment you set yourself in motion to fail. There is always something new to learn… that’s the great thing about photography, and art in general.
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are looking to hire a photographer to cover their big day?
1. Go with your gut. Find the photographer whose images make you feel warm fuzzies when you look at them. Then meet with them to make sure you like and get along with them. If you are uncomfortable with your photographer, it will show in your photos.
2. Ask to see a full wedding of images so that you know what their best AND worst images of the day look like. A strong photographer should not have any issue showing you the rest of a wedding day so that you can see their consistency and skill in different situations.
3. Backups. Make sure they have back up camera gear and a backup photographer in case of an emergency situation that keeps them from making it to your wedding.
4. You should be confident in the photographer that you’ve chosen. Hiring a professional wedding photographer should not only mean getting pretty photos of your wedding, it should also mean having peace of mind that the person you hired knows what to do to capture all of the aspects of your wedding day.
5. If you fall in love with a photographer out of your budget, don’t just give up and move on. You can always buy a print or an album from them later, but you can not redo your wedding day and photographs. Choose the photographer you love, book them for coverage hours only and then worry about the products after the wedding.
Thanks Kelly! For more information about Kelly Embry Photography, please visit her WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to her website.
Do you have any questions or comments for Kelly? Add them to the comments below!
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